The Daily Gamecock

Student body president candidates seek parking reforms, cooperation with incoming USC administration

<p>From left to right, Gurujjal Roopra, Nicholas Marzullo, Joshua Fair and Reedy Newton are the candidates running to be the next Student Body President. Students can vote for candidates from Feb. 22 at 9 a.m. to Feb. 23 at 5 p.m. Ballots will be available online.</p>
From left to right, Gurujjal Roopra, Nicholas Marzullo, Joshua Fair and Reedy Newton are the candidates running to be the next Student Body President. Students can vote for candidates from Feb. 22 at 9 a.m. to Feb. 23 at 5 p.m. Ballots will be available online.

The candidates for Student Body President said they seek further collaboration with university President-elect Michael Amiridis, reforms to parking and changes to buildings names on campus. 

 Gurujjal Roopra, third-year public health student 

Roopra said the reason she is running for Student Body President is to fix the disconnect she sees between Student Government's mission and how it actually functions on campus.

"The main thing that I want to do is to support student initiatives," Roopra said. "It's time that we take what the students want to do and move past kind of the political side of SG (Student Government) and advocate for what they want to see."

Roopra specifically mentioned advocating for firing USC faculty and staff members who are accused of sexual harassment and for renaming buildings on campus that are named after controversial figures.

"I can ensure that the students feel represented and know that this is something that we're supporting and working towards in any way that we can," Roopra said.

The main pillars of Roopra's campaign are to "innovate, advocate and motivate." She said this means innovating policies to advocate for the student body and motivating students to be catalysts for change.

Roopra said she wants to change how students register for classes, request tickets for sporting events and register to workout at campus gyms. She said she would condense all of the different websites that exist for these purposes into one website or app.

She also said her running mate, Faith Gravley, completes Roopra as a presidential candidate.

"We are very much the definition of opposites attract," Roopra said. "I couldn't have done it without her and I wouldn't have done it with anybody else."

Reedy Newton, third-year marketing student

Newton said she is running for Student Body President because of her love for USC and the Gamecock community.

"As a fourth-generation Gamecock, it just means so much to have the opportunity to be the face of the student body," Newton said. "I believe in a brighter future for all of the students here at Carolina."

Newton said her platform's main points are academics, collaboration with the President-elect Michael Amiridis and safety on campus. This includes improving academic advising, building a strong relationship with Amiridis and ensuring safety on campus with the City of Columbia, SAVIP and USCPD. 

Newton said her and her running mate, Maia Porzio, met because of their love for USC and want to better the university.

"We really were able to connect on this sense of home here at the university," Newton said. "She's a first-generation Gamecock and, like I mentioned, I'm a fourth-generation Gamecock and I think that's the most unique thing that brought us together."

She said her campaign also supports the initiative to rename buildings on campus that are named after controversial figures.

"We believe in advocating and amplifying the voice of the students here on campus," Newton said. "We are going to continue to push this movement forward but also look to the future."

 Joshua Fair, third-year sport and entertainment management student

If elected, Student Body President would be Fair's first role in Student Government. He said he has not had the confidence to run for Student Government until now.

"I just thought that people wouldn't vote for me simply because of what I do or how I look or simply just because they don't know me," Fair said. "A lot of people said that they would vote for me if I actually ran and that gave me a lot of confidence to actually run."

Fair said he wants to change the name of Thomas Cooper Library. He said as a Black student, he was disturbed when he learned the history of the name behind the library.

"Going in that building now sometimes, thinking about it, it kind of does give me like chills," Fair said. "If I have the power to fight back, I should."

Fair wants to reform parking on campus and lower USC's tuition. He said many people struggle financially in these two aspects and he wants to remove that worry from students' minds. 

With all of these policies, Fair also spoke on the benefits of equality on campus.

"Trying to express equality throughout the campus could also help you in your own personal life and help you on campus," Fair said.

Nicholas Marzullo, third-year finance, marketing and operations and supply chain student

Marzullo was unable to attend the two interview days The Daily Gamecock planned and instead sent a written statement about why he is running for Student Body President.

Marzullo said he is the founder of Gamecocks For Positivity, a student organization that works to help restore student morale. Marzullo said he created the organization after seeing the negative effects of COVID-19 on students' mental health. 

This focus on mental health is also one of the main pillars of Marzullo's presidential campaign. He said after seeing the good his club did for students, he believes he can do the same as Student Body President.

"I have realized it’s not hard to make someone's day, all it takes is a little effort and initiative," Marzullo said. "This campus needs someone who is truly willing to focus on restoring the community."

To improve students' mental health, Marzullo said he wants to create multiple new service and outreach initiatives on campus. This would include a raffle for students who complete at least 10 service hours each semester and also includes giving 500 free copies of colored paper to service and media organizations.

Marzullo said he wants to encourage sustainability and safety on campus. This would include new water bottle refilling stations on campus and allowing students to split the cost of a parking pass with another student to encourage carpooling.


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